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THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY             249

instruction should proceed from the_universal to the particular
from undifferentiated wholes to their constituent elements ; in
another passage he takes the opposite view that " J2jfe£as£QSsibk_,
instruction should be given^ through _the senses^ jind, shoulcL

But such inconsistencies are

not common. The religious bent of his mind inclined him to lay
the main stress on the idealistic view of mental development as an
evolution from within. In consequence of this, the sensationalist
view plays only a subordinate part in his thinking. He knows
how important it is that the mind should begin with sense-given
facts — either with actual objects or with pictorial representations
of them — and yet he recognizes that even from the start these
facts are more than they seem, that indeed they are expressions
of the universal and spiritual which the fully-developed mind will
one day comprehend at their proper value. It is this that makes
him insist that languagejl^i^rwj^                               (what

is no less important)T^£iactSLsbou1.d

;igs are the_substance , ' * he says, " words the accident."
This isTEeTsensationalist doctrine, and he has no sooner stated
it than he proceeds to correct it by drawing the illogical conclusion:
" Both should therefore be presented to the human under-
standing at the same tiine."f In effect, true education is not a
matter of mere facts qr mere words, mere particulars or mere
universals, but of facts and words, particulars and universals,
conjoined in the process of learning from the beginning.

The predominance of the idealistic view is most clearly shown
in the general method of instruction he advocates. The idea
from which he commences is the fundamental sameness of the
universe in every phase of nature and in every activity of man.
From this he makes a twofold deduction : (i) that the exact order
of instruction must be borrowed from nature ; and (2) that since
nature is uniform in its operations the same method of instruction
must be employed for all sciences, the same for all arts and the
same for all languages. Here Comenius is in the grasp of the
mystical view of the universe which tends to obliterate all the
distinctions of ordinary thought; and if he had been strictly
logical in its application he would have found himself in difficulty
immediately he tried to relate his principles to practice. There
is a natural element in the development of the child, and so far
* Keatinge, p. 139.           t Kcatinge, p. 115.